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wanted: Econotig 220v transformer or 460v workaround

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  • wanted: Econotig 220v transformer or 460v workaround

    yes this is probably a long shot but i'm trying to find a decent price used 220v transformer to convert this machine to 220V from its 460v rating.

    specs: Miller Econotig
    460v phase 1 60Hz 33A
    SN# LC028655
    stk# 903368
    build date: Feb 2002

    long story short i have been looking forever for a decent TIG machine and have been having no luck until this one popped up. the owner told me it was a 220 machine and wouldn't work at his house since it was only wired for 110V. without realizing there is a 460V version i picked it up and started testing it, not knowing it was a 460v model. the welder is going to be used in my shop, on a commercial site but the building is only wired for 120/208. the shop has 2 220v outlets, 1 at 60A and the other at 80A.

    it powers on but the fan runs slow and the foot pedal doesn't start the arc(obviously). the output from the 24V transformer is only 11V on the insufficient voltage coming in so nothing powers up correctly and almost nothing works so i can't thoroughly test it. it does fire if i manually kick over the contact box. the control board looks almost new, the rest is quite clean. i feel fairly confident it works fine but the reason i wound up with it being that 460v is quite uncommon, it was also a bare box(i was fine with buying new accessories if it worked ok with another test set from another Miller machine, i bought the foot control because i thought the RC14 control we used from a Miller syncrowave 150 was wired differently since it only had 5 pins utilized out the 14, now knowing all RC14s are the same).

    so i feel i wasted my money and don't want to try and pass this problem off on someone else as i'm fairly sure some amount of dishonesty is how i wound up with it in the first place. now having bought a brand new foot controller to test it with i've already got about $500 into the machine, although i had a full tank of argon already. the torch is also missing but if i can get it working and tested with another torch i will put the machine to use. otherwise i'm going to take a sledge hammer to it because i have the worst luck with dishonest people.

    if you have a 220v transformer from a broken machine you're willing to part with or know a workaround for making the 460v transformer work on 208v i would be appreciative.

    to run 460v into the shop from the junction box(if it even has a 460v line to the building with a transformer on site is a $1.5k+ project at minimum), a stationary transformer to bump the voltage up to about 420v at the rated 15,000VA capacity starts at $500 not including installation and is underrated for the 460v requirement.

    so right now i'm looking at a blue ornament wasting space. yes i should have known better but live and learn, for now i just have to keep with the 15 year old 130a mig machine that is about to quit. i should have just found a way to get the 180SD a few weeks ago but i don't have a truck.

    just looking for input, whether i should try to salvage this thing somehow or destroy it and put it to the curb for a scrapper to collect so that it doesn't turn into someone else's headache. (after a little digging i'm not the only one who has wound up with one of these HV units and no way of actually using it without stupid amounts of money sunk in)

    Last edited by RotaryEvolution; 03-13-2013, 11:57 AM.

  • #2
    well it's now sitting over at the electric motor service center, the tech seemed to think that hacking the transformer to work on 220v would be either be very easy or nearly impossible.

    will let you guys know what he sais once he looks at it while i have my fingers crossed(but still not being too optimistic that it will work out).

    still open for any other suggestions and hoping i can just find a used transformer somewhere off a dead board unit.

    upside is i have learned more about the Econotig in the past few days than i will ever need, downside is i have a gut feeling it is going to be wasted space in my memory.
    Last edited by RotaryEvolution; 03-13-2013, 04:23 PM.


    • #3
      Where did you buy it from?

      A good friend had his stolen about 2 weeks ago, don't know the SN though,

      Never mind, his was a 220 model, I should have read your whole post before opening my big mouth!
      Miller Syncrowave 200
      Homemade Water Cooler
      130XP MIG
      Spectrum 375
      60 year old Logan Lathe
      Select Machine and Tool Mill
      More stuff than I can keep track of..


      • #4
        Originally posted by nocheepgas View Post
        A good friend had his stolen about 2 weeks ago, don't know the SN though,

        Never mind, his was a 220 model, I should have read your whole post before opening my big mouth!
        yeah unfortunately this can't be it if his was a 220v unit. i bought it here in Las Vegas, where you know there's a problem if everyone asks "did you buy it off craigslist?", i guess i should take the hint and stop buying things off CL around here.. seems to be a scammers paradise here versus california.

        there's lots of commercial auctions so i assume it came from one, not just anyone is going to go out and buy a 460v machine. it also explains why it was cheap compared to most other Miller Tigs, but it's definitely no workhorse of a welder and will only do some jobs that i want it to do, others will require a more stout machine like a syncrowave 200 down the road.
        Last edited by RotaryEvolution; 03-13-2013, 06:19 PM.


        • #5
          apparently my pessimistic attitude paid off this time. i called the shop and they said they retapped the transformer to half it and it now works on 220v and the machine tested ok on 220.

          the shop specializes in rewinding electric motors as well as certified to work on many makes of welders.

          thanks for reading and i will update once i get it back.



          • #6
            You know what they say about pessimists? Either you're right or pleasantly surprised!

            Good news so far, I hope it performs great for you!
            MillerMatic 251
            Maxstar 150 STH
            Cutmaster 42
            Victor Journeyman OA

            A rockcrawler, er money pit, in progress...


            • #7
              Originally posted by elvis View Post
              You know what they say about pessimists? Either you're right or pleasantly surprised!

              Good news so far, I hope it performs great for you!
              definitely! i'm glad it seems to be working out. sub $1k tigs around here just don't pop up very often and i will be into this one about how much they generally go for but with all new accessories(about $700 for a used Econotig).

              i do still need to pick up a torch and regulator but had a friend come by to test it in the shop and it TIGged a decent bead on aluminum so i am going to go ahead and order the rest that i need to get it working.

              i didn't ask for specifics on the workaround but inside the machine i just see a single wire snipped. both to convert it to 230V and test it set me back only $60 so i was quite happy considering all the alternatives. basically if you find a 460V unit and need it converted to use more common voltages it IS doable, and rather easy i might add and is totally reversible. you just need someone familiar with transformers and i was quite lucky to find the shop that i did.

              i'm sure it won't perform as well at peak amps due to the discrepancy being it is fed 208V and the transformer is now rated for 230V but hopefully it will do what i need it to do. not saying this is the best idea, as it may cut the life the of the machine as well so take this all with a grain of salt. if the board cooks they can be repaired for a few bucks plus solder(initially i thought the board was dead before i realized it was 460V, and traced out the 24v transformer to only putting out the 11v and read for hours about cooked amp control circuits, but generally the result is 100% amps with no control).

              Last edited by RotaryEvolution; 03-15-2013, 07:46 PM.


              • #8
                Feeding it with 208 instead of 230 will reduce the output a little at the top end, but you are not likely to notice unless you are really pushing it. There is no reason why the life of the machine will be reduced or that the boards will fail at a rate other than normal. I think that you were lucky to find someone who knew how to tap that transformer properly AND do it at a fair price. Good job. Good Luck with it.


                • #9
                  Wouldnt the wiring on the primary side of the transformer be smaller on a 460 machine vs a 240 machine?Because less amps are needs for the same watts on 460 vs 240, so the wireing could be smaller


                  • #10
                    Hopefully it works out for ya. For those reading this there is also a 3 phase only machine that I've been told this cannot be done. So buyer beware.
                    Trailblazer 250g
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                    Lincoln ac/dc 225
                    Victor O/A
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                    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
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